Rebirth of Reason


Project Features
Product nameDiscover Freoland
Product typeActivity book (a hybrid of non-fiction and fiction)
AuthorBarry Kayton
PublisherLeap Publishing
ContentThe philosophy of free minds and free markets
MethodologyFun, critical and creative thinking exercises
SizeA4 (297mm x 210mm) with a fold-out poster
Pages96 pages, illustrated throughout in full colour
Targeted usersChildren aged ten to twelve years
Targeted buyersObjectivist and libertarian parents
Retail priceUS$27.50
PublicationMid-year 2003

A 96 page activity book for ten to twelve year old children illustrated throughout in full colour showing a laissez-faire world of freedom and fun and offering quizzes, puzzles, cartoons and fantastic facts about free minds and free markets


Children throughout the world soak up statist values and principles from parents, teachers and friends. Few books exist that introduce the philosophy of freedom in ways that are accessible to young minds, and those that do exist take the limited form of prose. Discover Freoland is a 96 page activity book, illustrated throughout with cartoon characters and photos in full colour, offering young readers -- aged ten to twelve -- the opportunity to explore and discover a laissez-faire paradise.

Discover Freoland shows children the creative power of free minds and free markets in visually-rich, interactively stimulating detail. By showing the potential and power of private institutions and enterprise, and engaging children in fun, creative and critical thinking exercises, Discover freoland empowers children to explore the fundamentals of a free society in an entertaining manner.

Discover freoland thus represents a new front in the battle for free enterprise and a new assault against collectivist ideas. However, it does not take the typical approach that points out the evils of socialism. Instead it offers an unprecedented celebration of the creative power of free minds and free markets designed expressly to appeal to youngsters before they are seduced by the shady promises of socialism.

The book employs a range of stimulating delivery techniques that replace the dull, black-and-white, academic knowledge typical of old world schooling, with colourful, fun, hands-on tasks and activities that catch the attention of children and challenge them to think critically and creatively about culture, business and government. These exercises invite the child reader to participate in this laissez-faire world, and virtually experience the philosophy of freedom. Project Rationale

Free market organisations almost universally target their efforts at adults or mature teenagers. This is certainly a necessary strategy to stem the tide of socialist values and thinking. But it is not sufficient. The intellectual battle for logic and liberty is really the battle of life-affirming culture against the dominant culture of our time which is saturated with life-negating values: polylogism, relativism, entitlement, egalitarianism, group rights, welfare, and all the other bureaucratic paraphernalia born of the unreasoned belief in government solutions to every conceivable social problem.

Immersed in this culture of anti-reason, altruism and statism, the majority of children soak up the dominant cultural ideas and values from parents, friends and teachers, unaware that they are disconnecting themselves from reality, logic, purpose, self-esteem and independence. By the time they reach maturity the damage is done. Thus, when they are exposed for the first time to free market perspectives, they regard free enterprise as unreal, ungodly, unethical, outrageous, inhuman -- "pie-in-the-sky". Or worse, they regard capitalism as ugly, filthy, corrupt and evil.

Given that this pattern of cultural decline began more than one hundred years ago and has gained momentum ever since, it is surprising that few books celebrating free minds and free markets are targeted at young children. Among them are: Ayn Rand's Anthem; Ken Schooland's The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible; James L. Payne's Princess Navina Visits Malvolia (et al); and Karl Hess's Capitalism for Kids (now out of print).

The rich content of these books offers some children a starting point for discovering the cultural, economic and governmental underpinnings of liberty. But all these books are presented in prose (black text on a white page) which is generally unengaging for the majority of youngsters (notwithstanding the phenomenal success of Harry Potter). Compare plain prose with the competing media of the 21st century: edge-of-the-seat movies with state-of-the-art special effects; Sony Playstations; multimedia CDROMs; the Internet; and glossy, full-colour books and magazines. Life-affirming ideas presented in the form of plain prose simply cannot compete with these sensational media.

There is thus a dire need for a visually-rich, entertaining depiction of a free and fascinating society, one that can not only expose young children to the fundamentals of freedom, but can also give them an irresistible, virtual experience of what it would be like to live in a free society. This is the aim of Discover freoland.

To meet this aim, the book employs an instructional methodology based on the premise that different readers respond to different kinds of communication -- visual, verbal, sensorial, emotional and conceptual -- and that a blend of different kinds of communication delivers a deeper impact on the reader. Discover freoland therefore takes the form of a hybrid of non-fiction and fiction, employing colourful visuals to back up the passages of text, which appeal to the young reader's senses, emotions and reason, and involve him or her in critical and creative thinking activities that are both relevant and entertaining.

Discover freoland offers a small step for each reader towards free minds and free markets but it's a giant leap towards a new form for imparting philosophy.

Project Objectives

(a) Development

As at April 22nd, 2002, the development process is well underway. An illustrator has been briefed and content is being written which will involve young readers in:

(b) Publication and Commercial Test Marketing

The first 1,000 copies of Discover freoland will be made available to international bookshops at wholesale prices and will be sold individually on the Internet directly from South Africa.

(c) Evaluation

The success of the initial print run will be evaluated quantitatively (by way of sales) and qualitatively (by way of feedback from parents and children). This feedback will guide the development of subsequent editions.

(d) Commercial Mass Marketing

If Discover freoland sells well, it will then be offered to publishers in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and, of course, the United States and Canada. Should these strategies prove successful, translations will follow.

(e) Website development

Initially, the Discover freoland website will be designed to channel feedback from parents and children to the development team at Leap Publishing. Later, a virtual Freoland will be created online to accompany subsequent editions. The web will be able to deliver much the same content as the book but in an online, interactive form.

(f) Summary

All these objectives are united in one purpose: to bring the ideas of free minds and free markets to young children, in a form that is both entertaining and educational, and thereby to offer a vision of life as it could be and should be before their hopes and dreams are crushed by life as it can be at its worst.

Method of Evaluation

(a) Qualitative evaluation of Discover freoland

The content of the book will be self-evidently laissez-faire. The artwork and text will clearly show the benefits and values of a laissez-faire world in ways accessible to young children, yet without being didactic. The book will in no way be schoolish or patronising. The intellectual content will be so thoroughly concretised in descriptive passages and fun activities that the discovery of Objectivist ideas will be intuitive.

Of course, such is the nature of the creative process, that some activities will be better than others: better at engaging children's interest and/or better at conveying knowledge. Therefore, each page will be evaluated against a set of edutainment criteria during development. These criteria will be reassessed once the book reaches the market and, together with feedback from parents and children (via a simple Discover freoland website), each page will be reevaluated according to the evolved criteria.

(b) Quantitative evaluation of Discover freoland

Rapid sales of the first 1,000 copies of Discover freoland will stand as proof of its unique and pioneering nature. This is a product that parents who support the free market will love to give to their children to share their own vision of an ideal world in a way that avoids preaching. It will also make a wonderful gift for nieces, nephews or a child's school friends.

In the long term, the impact of this activity book should not be underestimated. Ayn Rand's fiction is often cited amongst champions of the free market as the literature with which they started their journey to free market thinking. Similarly, this is the kind of book that will make a powerful impression on children. The ultimate goal is to develop a book that will stand as a benchmark against which children will come to judge social ideas in their formative teens.

Development Schedule

The time line for this project is as follows:

Key Personnel

The project manager, writer, developer and publisher of Discover freoland is Barry Kayton, an independent instructional design consultant based in Cape Town, South Africa. He has developed a business planning and simulation course for entrepreneurs and business loan assessors, as well as four comprehensive entrepreneurship courses for children aged 10, 11, 12 and 15, which are in use in schools throughout South Africa. This experience has inspired Barry to use similarly entertaining educational techniques in Discover freoland.

Patrick Kayton, Barry's brother and development partner and a full-time editor for another Cape Town publishing company, is involved in the creative development and planning of the book, and is responsible for copy editing.

Click to enlarge

Artwork is being provided by Ian Lusted, a commercial illustrator based in Cape Town. Ian will be illustrating the whole of freoland in a single poster. This sample shows a town called Australucky which Ian and Barry developed for 'Look Out!' an entrepreneurship course for grade five learners. freoland will be illustrated in a similar style but with four times as much detail. Unlike Australucky, which was designed simply to deliver entrepreneurial activities, every detail of freoland (including the architecture, sculpture, businesses, gold currency, characters and totally private road infrastructure, etc.) has been selected to suggest life-affirming culture, thriving commerce and laissez-faire government.

Future Projects

Discover freoland is the first project of Leap Publishing, a company founded by Barry Kayton specifically to develop and distribute ground-breaking content that illustrates the creative power of free minds and free markets. Leap Publishing plans to bring the philosophy of freedom to young children, in a form that is both entertaining and educational, and to adults in ways that break through the brittle barriers of second-hand, socialist ideas.

As a private, commercial company Leap Publishing plans to develop activity books, interactive websites, board games, web-based training courses, conventional training courses including simulation games, and multimedia CDROMs and DVDs, all of which will enable readers, users and participants to explore the philosophy of Objectivism.

To explore this educational vision further, or to discuss developmental or financial partnerships, contact Leap Publishing: barry@kayton.biz.

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